Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Served "HogFlying" for Breakfast!

I had just landed after a sortie with one of my pupils, and was sitting at one of the tables debriefing him on his performance. The time was 8:30 am on my watch; time the breakfast was laid out on the counter. The breakfast was collected from our homes every morning by a special transport. We could not carry it with us in the morning, as we left home well before sunrise to enable us to live upto the dictum of ‘sun up, wheels up’. I glanced to see if my breakfast tiffin had arrived; it had. I noticed TP opening my box, giving out an odd expression and quickly shutting it. I was a little baffled. Normally my wife sent delicious stuffed parathas, which I rarely got to eat as someone would partake of them well before I had a chance, thanks to our great tradition of sharing.

In the Air Force Academy, we had an unwritten law that anybody could eat the food of his choice from one of the 30 odd tiffin boxes that were brought in from the 30 different homes. To have a change of taste, we would go through the tiffins and generally eat the one that we did not get a chance to eat in the normal course. Thus to have a wider choice, it was best to make it to the cafeteria before the others and then take your pick of the available lot. I never bothered to hurry up as my parathas were always finished by the time I got to the breakfast counter. I would get an assortment of food, which included dosa, idli, poha, sandwiches, bread pakoras, upma and many other exotic dishes.

I again looked up to see Ramas open and shut my tiffin in a hurry. I was now intrigued and wondered what my dear wife had sent as breakfast for me. It must be something that nobody wanted to eat. I finished the debrief and went up to the breakfast counter. I quickly picked up my breakfast tiffin, and headed for the farthest table so as to avoid questions from my fellow instructors. I took a quick glance to see that all was clear and opened my tiffin box. Inside I found a slip of paper lying face down that had something written on it in my wife’s handwriting. I quickly put the slip of paper in my overall pocket, shut my tiffin box as if I had finished eating and headed out to a secure location to read the message.

This had never happened before and thus it set me thinking. I had in the last week volunteered to do additional flying with the other squadron to help them overcome their shortage of instructors. This had prevented me from accompanying my wife to the movies held at the open air theatre in the evenings. I also conveniently forgot to tell my better half about the volunteering part; instead giving her a story of ‘service exigencies’. She took it in her stride, and would sit through the movies all by herself. It irked her to sit all by herself, but then she had learnt not to question these two words spoken as one, ‘service exigencies’.

I had by now reached a safe location. I pulled out the hand written slip and read the words, “Hog flying”. It transpires that one of the other squadron ladies had sat through with her during the previous evening’s movie, and had blown my cover. “Hog flying” was my wife’s way of putting me in place, and extracting her sweet revenge for my convenient & false use of service exigenc

1 comment:

J P Joshi said...

This article has since been published in the Hindustan Times, Chandigarh Edition under the 'Spice of Life' column.